As much as I enjoy Wes Anderson films I can’t say I’m the type of fanatic that could recognize quotable lines right away if they were to be woven into boom bap rap beats. “We Haven’t Located Us Yet” is a masterfully dense piece of hip hop art, much like the time and details put into his (Wes) films, you can appreciate this rap duo's lyrical homage to the critically acclaimed indie film maker.
O.R. They? The rap name itself is a reference to the snarky and snippy line delivered by Jason Schwartzman to Luke Wilson, who plays a nurse character that is dating the teacher that he has a romantic crush on in the 1998 film, Rushmore. The cover art for their album is also a reference to another Wes Anderson film starring Jason Schwartzman and Owen Wilson, The Darjeeling Limited is about brothers traveling through India via train on the way to visit their mother.
O.R. They? is a different type of white rap duo, they’re like what would exist if Wes wrote his own characters for a rap film he was doing. From rhyme schemes, beats, to classic style hooks, and complex references, O.R. They? have crafted a record worthy of your most seasoned crate diggers, hip hop heads, lyricists, and lovers of classic indie American cinema.
Can’t Buy Backbone starts with a sample of an old school organ sound and Walter J Liveharder coming in “I’m a top gunner, for what it's worth, this is not nothing, you can keep this rap shit im not with all this cock buffing, I think you dropped something, the drop’s sudden, it could happen to your cousin, you were rapping and you wasn’t, you were cappin we went hunting!” Already off the bat I’m enjoying the lines that satirize other underground rappers and how the social fabric of being a rapper in a scene works. Jed Sed later mentions in reference to rappers thinking they’ve got good ganja…”I’ve got purples I don’t need your blues Buddy Guy, who gave you the notion we were friends buddy why?” nice Chicago Jazz double entendre right there. Immediately this first track will hook you in and make you want to lend your ear to the rest of the album jam packed with the wittiest lines you’ve not heard in a while.
The House on Archer Ave featuring the emcee Defcee might be one of their hits from this record! “Game recognize game like shirts vs blouses, you’ll learn the name when I’m all up in your houses” Walter J Liveharder hits this track with funny lines right away referencing the iconic Dave Chappelle and the late Charlie Murphy about the late Prince. “It's an honor to serve you good steak and lobster, you want a cheat code, but we’re not playing Contra” The hook on this record is catchy and sort of paints a mantra for the duo in regards to being older heads in the game and maybe not rocking with a lot of the newer goofier hip hop that is out there. “If we don’t like it we don’t like it, it don’t mean that we’re hating, but you don’t even have good taste in bacon, don’t judge the chefs till you know what we’re making, we eat beef like fake vegans on vacation.” “There’s whiskey in the jars, flowers in the papers, O.R. They? By far your most interesting neighbors.” raps Jed Sed after the hook inferring your cinematic duo get down on the party favors. Defcee ends the record with a monstrous verse for The House on Archer Ave.
Dept. of Housing and Transit Authority begins with a sharp electric guitar riff and a clean drum pattern; compliments to the producer DREAMTEK for his well curated production and composition, the whole album maintains a cohesive sound.. Jed Sed starts this record out as opposed to Walter J. Liveharder, they do a great job of sharing their compositions to give each other equal shine. This track is dope because they go back and forth on the beat exchanging 4 to 8 bars each verse. “You don’t have to tell them the wait’s over, because nobody is awaiting the takeover, fuck a celebrity makeover this is the hangover, I go live at the barbecue show up with the flame thrower”…Walter J Liveharder rhymes and then Jed Sed coming in right after with “yeah i like a nice good sear, cool it off cream cheese, a nice good shmear, the finish of the year so finish up your beer, you aren’t norm this isn’t cheers and you shouldn’t still be here!’ This string of lines combined by Walter J. Liveharder and Jed Sed reminds me of prime Wu Tang or Jedi Mind Tricks. How 2 or more emcees can be so locked in on the same topic that the lines feel like they could have been rapped by one person or written together in harmonious tandem.
Fuck the Itinerary begins with a monologue from Walter J. Liveharder where he addresses the students of Rushmore while introducing his rap partner, Jed Sed. “Just call me christoph, I waltz through the treetops, Vlade Divac, 6 points, 3 shots, the high percentage, fine selection, secret door to the wine collection, but it's also for my protection.” Only 4 tracks in and every song demands mental attentivity in order to mineralize all their dope rhymes, multiple entendres, and ultra obscure references unless you happen to be gracefully cultured in Wes Anderson cinema among other films and music peppered in. And even if you’re not, it wouldn’t matter, you’ll like these two cats spitting over thick dusty boom bap beats.
“I’m Gonna Hold This In For a While'' is a solo track that Walter J. Liveharder takes on the album. “Y’all could come try, fuck it let the bums die, I didn’t mean to be bogus, I’m just dumb high.” This line had me laughing immediately, I enjoy when a duo takes two individual tracks for themselves to spice things up on the LP.
The Brothers Whitman has a more soulful vibe on We Haven’t Located Us Yet featuring Chicago’s Rich Jones! A big feature for a rising star power duo, salut! The hook on this record makes for another hit from the LP. Each emcee brings a densely packed verse with the refrain bringing this vibe that hits with background voices saying “Dang digga digga, dang, danga dang dang!” or something like that. It’s ambient and in the background but you’ll leave this track repeating this little chant.
Rushmore ext. 23 continues the soulful vibe with Walter J. Liveharder beginning the record with “metamucil fiber optics, and y’all still couldn’t see shit!” and Jed Sed enters soon after exchanging bars back and forth again…”fanatic, addict, but I don’t roll on the sabbath, its traumatic, yes but surprisingly low static.” So far; many lines will tickle you and make you laugh, especially if your vocabulary is deep. O.R. They? sample Jason Schwartzman and Luke Wilson from Rushmore when they have a tension filled conversation at dinner with Bill Murray’s and Olivia William’s characters. Jed Sed ends his verse with “Red wine, eating dinner at your bedtime, Your ass just lacks the enzymes'' followed by Walter J. Liveharder with “its like you're missing your gallbladder, that reference was way over your head, but when has that mattered? We stick together like March Hairs and Mad Hatters, my patterns the rings of saturn, cinnamon rolls from ann sathers''... and Jed Sed “While you stuffed your faces, you might as well face it, y’all are just the ball I throw that a dog chases, my cadence has marathon paces, and patience, yours is likely shaking, like the golden gate bridge.” Amazing bars and references on this record and always enjoy anything having to do with the film Rushmore due to its iconic quirkiness. Also if you’re a Chicagoan and a Swede like me you’ll catch that Ann Sathers line, respect!
Temple of a Thousand Bulls featuring Al Tamper begins with a sultry Spanish classical guitar before going into a verse by Jed Sed! “Get to the chopper, carry the kid (with an Arnold sample in the background) Carrie on prom night, hide the pigs”…ending with “flunked out as a sophomore had to unplug your aux cord!” Then the hook gets some original scratching on it by the talented DJ ALO and solid verses from Walter J. Liveharder and Al Tamper.
Rosemary is cool for having an upright bass sound as the main melody of the beat. This song is heavily sophisticated and complex, probably the most lyrically potent record on the whole album. Walter J. Liveharder goes in right away with some Lupe Fiasco level lines. “The savior of Latin refused to remain quiet, not since fisher vs Blume has a campus been so excited.” I have no idea what this means and that’s dope because I’ll most likely be coming back to this record a lot to eventually break down all of the meanings. “Bloodshot eyes, haven’t slept lately, feeling like the father of rosemary's baby, parsley, sage, it’s time I turned a page, then you’re in the front row at my last time on stage, I wrote hit a play!” This line definitely multi interpretive by the dope Jed Sed, but I like how he connects Rosemary’s baby references back into the hilariously delivered Jason Schwartman’s I wrote a hit play like in Rushmore.
What Are You, a Lawyer? Sounds and feels like a reference to Darjeeling Limited but perhaps I’m wrong. I like this record for the distortion the mix has on the vocals of Jed Sed; this track serves as a nice transition into the last movement of the album.
Mr. Littlejean begins with a slight piano melody and some vinyl crisp static on the beat. Another short 1 minute record with a long poetic verse from Walter J. Liveharder.
Dumb Way to Get Loaded ends this wildly imaginative and unique album. O.R. They? samples DMX and Aesop Rock on the hook with scratches, haven’t heard that in combination before! Walter J. Liveharder and Jed Sed serve you up one more well thought out verse each, explaining their identity and impact via rhymes. “Circle gets a square keep your eye on the sparrow, life ain’t fair I’ll pull a card like tarot” raps Walter J. Liveharder and Jed Sed ends the record with “those bad decisions come back with vengeance in em, I don’t contend to have no skeleton friends, but never is when this development ends, so look past your skin or lose privileges, you’re no citizen, this beat is bust, turn my middle finger up.”
If you are well versed in film and/or hip hop you’ll want to add O.R. They? to your playlist immediately. If you know nothing of classic hip hop or anything Wes Anderson you might not be as turned on by some of these references but I highly recommend digesting the LP simply for its well placed groove that they etch out in their own niche. If you like Beastie Boys, ICP, CES Cru, Mobb Deep, Kriss Kross, The Underachievers, Kottonmouth Kings, Kidd n Play, or ANY of the enigmatic rap duos throughout history, you’ll find sparks of that same love within O.R. They?. It’s special to go hard on a distinct theme such as Wes Anderson, and it should be recognized! Art After Dark is wild with anticipation for more O.R. They? !